Tea is arguably the most popular drink in the world, second only to water, and it is present in practically 80% of all households in the US. Along with coffee, it is the only drink customarily served iced or piping hot for various reasons and occasion.
What is Tea?
Tea is a fragrant brew normally prepared by seeping hot or boiling water with cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub that is found in the Asian continent, specifically in Southwest China where it was utilized for its medicinal properties in ancient times. It was propagated as a leisure drink in the Chinese Tang dynasty period, thus making tea drinking extend to other East Asian nations. Eventually, Portuguese clerics and traders brought it to Europe during the 16th century. (1)
By the sixteen hundreds, consuming tea was a fashionable pastime among the British, who initiated production and commercialization of the tea in India, circumventing the Chinese who monopolized tea production. There exists a myriad of tea varieties, including dedicated detox tea blends, however this article will confine itself to the two tea superstars: green and black tea.
Green tea is a variety of tea that is produced from Camellia sinensis leaves that have not been subjected to the equivalent oxidation and drying system used to make black and oolong tea.
Green tea originally came from China, however its production has extended to various Asian countries. There are many variants of green tea that exist, which differ significantly owing to different strains of C. sinensis used, horticultural approaches, growing circumstances, production processing, and harvest period. (2)
How to Make Green Tea
Step 1: Boil water until it reaches a temperature of 100 ˚C.
Step 2: Add loose green leaf tea or a green tea bag(s) to a cup or a pot. Place 1 heaped teaspoon of tea leaf or a tea bag to produce 1 cup of tea, adding one extra of each if using a pot.
Step 3: Allow the green tea to brew for approximately two to three minutes, adjusting the duration for how potent or mild you prefer your tea.
Step 4: After two to three minutes, remove the teabags and extract the leaves from the water. This will prevent the bitter taste caused by burning or overcooking the leaves.
Black tea is a variety of tea that is oxidized more than green, oolong, and white teas but is also derived from leaves of the shrub, Camellia sinensis. It is usually more pungent in taste than the less oxidized tea varieties.
There are essentially two variants of the species used: the tiny-leaved Chinese plant, utilized for the majority of tea types, and the larger-leaved Assamese plant which was specifically used for black tea production. (2)
How to Make Black Tea
Step 1: Boil water until it reaches a temperature of 100 ˚C.
Step 2: Add loose black leaf tea or a black tea bag(s) to a cup or a pot. Place 1 heaped teaspoon of tea leaf or a tea bag to produce 1 cup of tea, adding one extra of each if using a pot.
Step 3: Allow the green tea to brew for approximately three to five minutes, adjusting the duration for how potent or mild you prefer your tea.
Step 4: After three to five minutes, remove the teabags and extract the leaves from the water. This will prevent the bitter taste caused by burning or overcooking the leaves.
Benefits of Green Tea
Green Tea Aids in Detoxification
Lead poisoning is a problem in developing countries. Exposure to lead may have an adverse effect on fertility, among other health concerns. In one study, consumption of 100 mg/kg of green tea reduced the effects of lead poisoning. (3)
Green tea has also been shown to stimulate detoxification systems in the body through the induction of certain metabolic enzymes, in addition to inhibiting biochemical markers of tumor initiation. Current studies show an inverse relationship between cancer risk and green tea consumption, making it a potential chemopreventive treatment of cancer. (4)
Green Tea May Help Regulate Blood Pressure
Green tea is known to help maintain blood pressure at low levels by lessening angiotensin which results in elevated blood pressure or hypertension. It may also reduce diabetes-induced oxidative stress in patients. (5)
Green Tea May Prevent the HIV Virus from spreading to Healthy Cells
Scientists from Japan found out that Epigallocatechin gallate or ECGC in green tea can aid in stopping the HIV virus from latching on to healthy cells and it likewise assists in averting the virus from spreading. (6)
Green Tea Increases Bone Density
There is mounting evidence that green tea may offer protection against osteoporosis. This is supported by both animal and human studies. The beneficial effects of green tea are mediated through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant pathways. which promote bone formation and mitigate the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Green Tea Increases Metabolic Rate and Promotes Fat-Burning
Green tea has shown to increase metabolic rate even without exercise, promoting weight loss and fat-burning. Its use as a thermogenic is limited, but in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, may yield significant results.
Benefits of Black Tea
Black Tea Improves Body Composition
In one study, results showed that consumption of black tea over a 3-month period inhibited weight gain and reduced waist circumference. This is compared to the control beverage which also contains caffeine. (7)
Black Tea Helps in Maintaining a Healthy Digestive Tract
Tannins in black tea have a healing effect on intestinal and gastric diseases, while also helping to lessen digestive activity.
Black Tea Boosts Energy Levels
Due to considerably lower caffeine content in black tea, it can help improve blood flow to the brain but not over-stimulate the heart. It also boosts the metabolism and respiratory system, as well as the kidneys.
Black Tea Helps Fight Heart Ailments
Habitual consumption of black tea can aid in mending coronary artery dysfunctions among heart disease patients. Hence, those who drink black tea are at a lowered risk for developing a variety of cardiovascular illnesses. (8)
Black Tea Offers Relief from Diarrhea
Black tea has a curative effect on intestinal issues and problems since it is replete with tannins. It is recommended that diarrhea sufferers sip plain, black tea gradually for the best effects.
Shared Benefits of Both Green and Black Tea
As with tea of all varieties, the super performers are the antioxidants they contain, specifically a variety of antioxidant called polyphenols. Antioxidants are molecules that do their work by obstructing the production and oxidation of free radicals. (9)
Studies over the years have observed that antioxidants like catechins and polyphenols present in both green and black tea may help avert some kinds of cancer. It has been recommended that women who drink black or green tea habitually have less odds of developing ovarian cancer than those who did not drink at all. (10)
We all know about the relaxing and calming effects of green and black tea. Both help you wind down after a long day, and research shows that L-theanine, an amino acid found in both, can aid in relaxing and better concentration. Green and black tea have also been observed to lessen the amounts of cortisol (stress hormone) when taken in modest amounts regularly.
Immune System Support
Green and black tea contains alkylamine antigens which help enhance our immune systems. They both also have tannins that have the capability to combat viruses, keeping illnesses like the common cold, stomach flu, influenza and other viruses at bay.
Caffeine Content – Which Type of Tea Contains More Caffeine?
The precise caffeine content is hard to determine in both green and black tea due to intervening factors like infusion method, brew duration, serving amount and whether one is drinking the initial or second infusion. Nevertheless, an 8-ounce cup of black tea that was brewed for three minutes will have around 30-80 milligrams of caffeine, while an 8-ounce cup of green tea brewed for three minutes will have around 35-60 milligrams of caffeine.
Which Has More Antioxidants?
The empirical data on both green and black tea is evolving, but nonetheless compelling. Rather consistent evidence points to the fact that there is indeed a real benefit to tea, since it is an abundant source of a specific antioxidant known as flavonoids.
One article reports that black tea has benefits that equal those of green tea as the antioxidants in black tea (theaflavins) are just as potent as the antioxidants (catechins) in green tea. However, the concentration of these antioxidants varies. Green tea contains total phenols equal to 165 mg gallic acid, while black tea contains total phenols equal to 124 mg gallic acid.
So, green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea due to potency.
The detoxifying power of these antioxidants defends cells from free radical damage, which otherwise can lead to serious conditions like atherosclerosis, blood clot formation, and even cancer. The majority of studies observe that habitual tea drinkers, whether it be green or black, who consumed two cups or more a day, have less stroke incidences, less heart disease occurrences and, lower overall and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Furthermore, they were observed to bounce back from heart attacks faster.
Which is Better?
They are both winners! If you only have access to one, definitely go for the green tea as it is a more potent source of antioxidants. However, that’s no reason for you to forego black tea completely. Incorporate both into your diet regimen, as both varieties will provide many similar health benefits.